George A. Romero, the American filmmaker affectionately referred to as “the father of the zombie genre”, has died aged 77 following a battle with lung cancer.
The director, who is widely heralded as being the man who launched the zombie film genre with his 1968 movie Night of the Living Dead, died in his sleep according to a statement from his manager Chris Roe.
“Legendary filmmaker George A. Romero passed away on Sunday July 16, listening to the score of ‘The Quiet Man,’ one of his all-time favorite films, with his wife, Suzanne Desrocher Romero, and daughter, Tina Romero at his side. He died peacefully in his sleep, following a brief but aggressive battle with lung cancer, and leaves behind a loving family, many friends, and a filmmaking legacy that has endured, and will continue to endure, the test of time.”
Romero’s filmography included many memorable films including horror franchise juggernauts Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead, as well as The Crazies and Season of the Witch.
With Night of the Living Dead, Romero famously converted a $114,000 budget into a $30million box office run that made the film an instant cult hit. His work inspired a generation of filmmakers, including many of the mainstays of the so-called “movie brats” group of directors (including Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese and Brian De Palma), and was largely responsible for the horror boom of the 1970s that saw many of the industry’s hot up-and-coming directors take to horror as a means of getting their talents shared across the country.
Romero was a child of Cuban and Lithuanian parents who graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA, after growing up in the Bronx. He is survived by his wife and two children.
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